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Silverstone WEC: Toyota beats Audi to pole position

Toyota snatched pole position from Audi for the opening round of the 2014 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone this weekend.

The four-lap average of the #7 Toyota TS040 HYBRID shared in qualifying by Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima was 1m42.774s, which put the car just 0.005s ahead of the best of the Audi R18 e-tron quattros driven by Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval

Nakajima sent the Toyota to the top of the timesheets when he stayed out for a third flying lap and set his fastest time to improve his aggregate.

Nakajima said: "I didn't know about the time difference when I was in the car, but I knew I was P2.

"On the next lap, I was going quicker, so I continued to push to the end of the lap and the time came somehow.

"It is only one position [difference], but to get pole is good for the team and good motivation for tomorrow."

Porsche made it three manufacturers in the top three with the #14 car driven by Romain Dumas and Neel Jani.

The most eagerly-awaited sportscar season ever

Its four-lap average was three tenths shy of the top two cars.

Andre Lotterer improved on his final tour, after doing a cooling down lap, to move the R18 he shared with Benoit Treluyer up from sixth to fourth.

The second Toyota, qualified by Anthony Davidson and Nicolas Lappiere, was fifth and the second Porsche with Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard driving ended up sixth.

The OAK Racing-run G-Drive Morgan-Nissan took LMP2 pole in the hands of Olivier Pla and Roman Rusinov by nearly three tenths from the KCMG ORECA-Nissan 03 shared by Richard Bradley and Tsugio Matsuda.

Ferrari took GTE Pro pole courtesy of a string of laps under the two-minute barrier by Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander.

Their average of 1m59.125s aboard the lead AF Corse 458 Italia compared with 1m59.380s from the factory Manthey Porsche 911 RSR shared by Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet.

GTE Am honours went to the AF entry shared by Sam Bird and Michele Rugolo.

Follow the WEC season-opening race as it happens on AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live from 11.30am UK time on Sunday April 20

Pos  Cl     Drivers                    Team/Car               Time       Gap  
 1.  P1     Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima     Toyota                 1m42.774s          
 2.  P1     Duval/Kristensen/di Grassi Audi                   1m42.779s  +0.005s 
 3.  P1     Dumas/Jani/Lieb            Porsche                1m43.087s  +0.313s 
 4.  P1     Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer  Audi                   1m43.137s  +0.363s 
 5.  P1     Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi    Toyota                 1m43.189s  +0.415s 
 6.  P1     Bernhard/Webber/Hartley    Porsche                1m43.226s  +0.452s 
 7.  P1     Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer  Rebellion Lola-Toyota  1m44.285s  +1.511s 
 8.  P1     Prost/Heidfeld/Beche       Rebellion Lola-Toyota  1m44.392s  +1.618s 
 9.  P2     Rusinov/Pla/Canal          OAK Morgan-Nissan      1m49.156s  +6.382s 
10.  P2     Howson/Bradley/Matsuda     KCMG ORECA-Nissan      1m49.439s  +6.665s 
11.  P2     Ladygin/Shaitar/Ladygin    SMP ORECA-Nissan       1m51.236s  +8.462s
12.  P2     Zlobin/Minassian/Mediani   SMP ORECA-Nissan       1m51.514s  +8.740s
13.  GTE P  Bruni/Vilander             AF Ferrari             1m59.125s  +16.351s
14.  GTE P  Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy    Manthey Porsche        1m59.380s  +16.606s
15.  GTE P  Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz    Manthey Porsche        1m59.717s  +16.943s
16.  GTE P  Rigon/Calado               AF Ferrari             1m59.841s  +17.067s
17.  GTE A  Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird          AF Ferrari             1m59.932s  +17.158s
18.  GTE P  Turner/Mucke               Aston Martin           1m59.954s  +17.180s
19.  GTE P  Griffin/Parente            Ram Ferrari            2m00.216s  +17.442s
20.  GTE A  Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard    Aston Martin           2m00.923s  +18.149s
21.  GTE A  Companc/Cioci/Venturi      AF Ferrari             2m00.971s  +18.197s
22.  GTE A  Poulsen/Hansson/Thiim      Aston Martin           2m00.982s  +18.208s
23.  GTE P  O'Young/Rees/MacDowall     Bamboo Aston Martin    2m01.122s  +18.348s
24.  GTE A  Perrodo/Collard/Vaxiviere  Prospeed Porsche       2m01.886s  +19.112s
25.  GTE A  Ried/Bachler/Qubisi        Proton Porsche         2m01.917s  +19.143s
26.  GTE A  Mowlem/Patterson/Collins   Ram Ferrari            2m01.953s  +19.179s
27.  GTE A  Potolicchio/Roda/Ruberti   8Star Ferrari          2m01.982s  +19.208s
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Toyota starts 2014 WEC with one-two